A crisis of confidence

CAMPUS AFFAIRS: The campus administration should allow an independent committee to investigate an administrator’s conduct.

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Administrative misconduct will always garner attention. But when the scandal involves both sex and money, it can be easy to lose sight of the wrongs actually committed. Former UC Berkeley assistant vice chancellor Diane Leite has received sufficient repercussions for violating the university rules that govern sexual relationships between employees, based on the public evidence at this time. Still, the administration should allow an independent investigation of her conduct, as requested in a faculty letter, to maintain the campus community’s trust.

For Leite’s involvement in pay raises given to a sexual partner, she was demoted from her position as an assistant vice chancellor and had her pay reduced by more than $10,000 as of March 1. Many students, staff and faculty members see these penalties as too soft, and their demands range from further disciplinary action to her outright dismissal.

There is little doubt that Leite acted irresponsibly in her capacity as a manager when she did not remove herself from pay decisions regarding a sexual partner. Every part of UC Berkeley’s community has justification to be angry at her conduct, especially considering the state of their university’s finances. However, the punishment already exacted on Leite is compounded by the very public, constant shaming she has endured since the story broke on March 12.

Her ability to lead has been compromised by her improper actions and the ensuing media storm. Though further scrutiniy of Leite’s conduct would protract the ordeal, an independent investigation would ultimately engender much-needed confidence in UC Berkeley’s administration and only serve to determine the truth.